The Clarity of the Commandments

The commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 19:8
This verse from the 19th Psalm is beautiful, but troubling. That's because God's commandment isn't always completely clear. Indeed, there are many commandments that aren't clear at all—which I choose not to follow either because they seem to contradict commandments on which I place a higher priority, or because they make no sense. Take commandments which call for the death penalty, for example... or ones which tell me what to do with my facial hair.

Though we might be concerned with the clarity of God's commandments, we should not fret about them. That's because we've been given a forum in which to sort them out. It's called the body of Christ—the church. The commandments were given not just to protect life and property. Their main purpose was to forge a people faithful to God who related to one another with love and respect. And it is this same community, gathered in the Spirit, which is gifted with the wisdom to teach and the humility to learn. Let us not be lone rangers in our claims to understand—or our decisions to disregard—God's commandments, but let us study God's word as members of Christ's body.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom.
 Colossians 3:16
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Thank you, O God, for the gift of your word and the grace of a community in which to study it. Grant me an open heart that I might learn from my sisters and brothers in Christ, in whose Name I pray.
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

The spacious heav’ns declare the glory of our God;
the firmament displays his handiwork abroad.
Day unto day doth utter speech and night to night doth knowledge teach.
Jehovah’s perfect law restores the soul again;
his testimony sure gives wisdom unto men [sic].
The precepts of the Lord are right, and fill the heart with great delight.
The Lord’s command is pure, enlightening the eyes;
Jehovah’s fear is clean, more lasting than the skies.
The judgments of the Lord express his truth and perfect righteousness.
Let all the words I speak and all the thoughts within
come up before thy sight and thine approval win.
O thou Jehovah, unto me my rock and my redeemer be.
 from Ps. 19, Trinity Psalter
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